Fireside Fall Favorites

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It’s that time of year when the hearth is warmed and the mugs are filled, and we all need a good book and a hot cup of goodness to curl up with and enjoy.


Here is a list of great books & drinks for fireside reading:

A Parchment of Leaves
by Silas House

Named Kentucky Novel of the Year and won a special achievement award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. In 1917 rural Kentucky, Saul Sullivan marries a beautiful Cherokee woman named Vine. They weather the storm of prejudice, but when Saul temporarily moves away to work a better job, his younger brother makes advances on Vine that are not welcome and ultimately lead to tragedy.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Zesty Orange Mocha
A magical mix of cinnamon & orange in a mocha that’s to die for!
orange-mocha-recipe-1.jpgBrew strong coffee or pull 1 shot of epresso. Heat 4-5oz of milk in sauce pan to a gentle simmer & reduce heat, whisk in 3 squares of dark chocolate until smooth, add 2-3 drops of orange extract, add cinnamon to taste. Add mixture to your coffee. Top with marshmallows, garnish with orange zest & cinnamon.


Wuthering Heights

by Emily Bronte

Considered lurid and shocking by mid-19th-century standards, Wuthering Heights was initially thought to be such a publishing risk that its author, Emily Brontë, was asked to pay some of the publication costs. A somber tale of consuming passions and vengeance played out against the lonely moors of northern England, the book proved to be one of the most enduring classics of English literature.
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com
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Book Bean: Cinnamint Tea
Mint tea with a dash of cream sprinkled with cinnamon and/or a cinnamon stick.


The Thanksgiving Visitor

by Truman Capote

Another masterpiece by the great American writer Truman Capote is brought to an audience of all ages. Buddy and his closest friend, his eccentric, elderly cousin, Miss Sook – the memorable characters from Capote’s A Christmas Memory–love preparing their old country house for Thanksgiving. But there’s trouble in the air.
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Pumpkin au lait
background-beans-caffeine-633481.jpgPull a shot of espresso add to mug (or 6-10oz of strong coffee & less milk.) In sauce pan heat 8oz of Milk (of choice) gently bring to simmer, whisk in 1tbsp of pumpkin (or pumpkin pie for sweet) puree, remove from heat, add mixture to mug & stir. Top with clove & cinnamon. 

The Hearth and Eagle
by Anya Seton

Seton embarked on a fervent search for her forebears that led her to Marblehead, Massachusetts, a “sea-girdled town of rocks and winding lanes and clustered old houses.” There she found not only an ancestor, but also the setting for this, her fourth novel.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

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Book Bean:
Hazelnut Brew
Pick up some unsalted hazelnuts. Put the beans and nuts in a coffee grinder. Measure them out to a ratio of two parts beans to one part nuts (or to preference.) Brew together in a French press. Serve with warm or steamed milk/cream and top with vanilla bean powder & nutmeg.


Far from the Madding Crowd

by Thomas Hardy

Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, the soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy, and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak.
Rated 4.1 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Countryside Cocoa
vegan-pumpkin-hot-chocolate-editedHeat and simmer milk of choice, melt/ mix in cocoa powder and/or dark chocolate, and dark brown sugar to taste. Add mix to a blender and spoon in apprx. 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, a dash of pumpkin spice, a drop or two of orange extract. Top with cream and a sprinkle of spice.

Mind of the Raven
by Bernd Heinrich

Heinrich involves us in his quest to get inside the mind of the raven. But as animals can be spied on only by getting quite close, Heinrich adopts ravens, thereby becoming a “raven father”, as well as observing them in their natural habitat. He studies their daily routines and, in the process, paints a vivid picture of the ravens’ world.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Dark Delights
4.jpgNothing fancy on this one, just get some good quality Dark Roast Coffee and drink it black while nibbling on some delicious chocolate. My favorite is a dark chocolate bar with cranberry and sugared orange.

 

The Cider House Rules
by John Irving

among John Irving’s most beloved novels. Set in rural Maine in the first half of the twentieth century, it tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch—saint and obstetrician, founder and director of the orphanage in the town of St. Cloud’s, ether addict and abortionist. It is also the story of Dr. Larch’s favorite orphan, Homer Wells, who is never adopted.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Crisp Apple Chai
applepiechai.jpgIn saucepan heat up half water half apple juice or cider and simmer with green apple slices.  Add in Chai powder mixture or concentrate. Add mixture to blender and blend till smooth. Serve with garnish of apple and topped with whip and/or caramel, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

The Lay of the Land
by Richard Ford

Frank Bascombe has been many things to many people. His uncertain youth behind him, we follow him through three days during the autumn of 2000, when his trade as a realtor on the Jersey Shore is thriving. But as a presidential election hangs in the balance, and a postnuclear-family Thanksgiving looms before him, Frank discovers that what he terms “the Permanent Period” is fraught with unforeseen perils.
Rated 3.9 on amazon.com

Espresso Canarian Espresso Zaperoco CoffeeBook Bean: Bourbon Bombón
Carefully pour sweet condensed milk in a small glass, Pour in 1 shot quality Bourbon, then top with espresso shot. Serve showing the layers, Stir before consuming.

 

A Patchwork Planet
by Anne Tyler

This novel introduces 30-year-old misfit Barnaby Gaitlin, a renegade who is actually a kind-hearted man struggling to turn his life around. A New York Times Notable Book.

David Morse’s reading in a calm, even tone reflects the unruffled attitude of the central character in this story.
Rated 4.0 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Spiced Steamer
spiced-vanilla-pumpkin-milk-steamer-5-edited.jpgSteam or simmer rice milk (almond is also nice) over low heat. Mix in agave syrup, vanilla bean, cinnamon, nutmeg, dash (very small) of cayenne, all to preferred taste. Pour in cup and sprinkle lightly with spices, garnish with cinnamon sticks, and let it warm your soul!

What are your Favorite Fall Books to Curl up with?

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Spooktastic Classics

This October I put together a little list of books I’d like to read to get me into the spirit of Hallows Eve. Here is my list, plus a few from past years. Any or all of these books make wonderful reading, but fair warning, some are not for the faint of heart.

Here is my mini list of spooky hair raising classics:

Frankenstein
by Mary Shelley
This is such a fantastic story, I encourage anyone who has not already read it to do so. The story’s background is also really interesting. It’s impressive enough the Shelley could right a book from the perspective of 2 separate males, but she also started this book on a complete whim. She was given the challenge by a peer to right a ghost story while vacationing, and out of that came this iconic masterpiece.

turn.jpgThe Turn of the Screw
by Henry James
I have to admit I barely made it through this book, though it is very well written and a wonderful classic. My reason was purely that I am a big chicken and it scared the daylights out of me. I read it aloud, which really added to it’s eeriness.

The Shining
by Stephen King
I of course had to have Stephen on this list.9781501175466_p0_v2_s550x406 I could decide which book so I chose purely based on the fact that The Shining was one of my first Stephen King experiences. Now for those really looking for a good scare go with “It” though I personally will never be brave enough.

Dracula
by Bram Stoker
This is a beautiful story and a classic that I feel is so under appreciated. Dracula represents everything the Victorians feared: the irrational, the pagan, the erotic and the foreign. If you love classic literature and/or gothic novels, I highly recommend you read this book!
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The Legend of Sleepy Hallow
by Washington Irving
Washington Irving’s haunting, macabre stories will give wide-eyed readers delightful chills. This is a great story and such an awesome read for this time of year. It is especially great to read on particularly gloomy flog laden evenings.

Halloween is just a few days away…
What spooky book/s will you be curling up with?
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Wake-Up Wednesdays: Spiced Latte

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This Latte is not that much different than a Pumpkin Spiced Latte, it is basically the same thing, minus the flavor of pumpkin. That may be great for some and a deal breaker for others, but I promise you it is delicious!

Book Bean: Spiced Latte
2-3 shots of espresso, steamed or frothed milk of choice (great with almond milk,) 1tsp ea. of cinnamon and nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ea. of clove and all-spice, 1/4 tsp of ginger. Or you can cheat and use pumpkin spice seasoning 😉 Sprinkle to the top of your latte with vanilla bean powder.

The perfect Book to pair with this eclectically spiced latte is a book full of it’s own spice, wisdom, and wonder:

The Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho
An enchanting novel that has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its simplicity and wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an Alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest.
Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

Evocative Literary Lines: Frankenstein

“…The moon gazed on my midnight labours, while, with unrelaxed and breathless eagerness, I pursued nature to her hiding places…”
download“Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil, as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave”

~Mary Shelley (Frankenstein)

Unknown_woman,_formerly_known_as_Mary_Wollstonecraft_Shelley_by_Samuel_John_StumpI love this story, and I love its origins. Mary Shelley is a fantastic Author and Frankenstein is such a tribute to her talent. This timeless tale was written with such grace and elegance, yet she fearlessly captures the relentless heart of a man desperately searching for meaning.

 

Wake-Up Wednesday: PB&Joe

What could be a better pick-me-up than a drink twist reminiscent of a favorite childhood snack!

IMG_6276Book Bean: PB & Joe
This can be made with Brewed Coffee or Espresso as a base. Start with 1 scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream in a blender, add 2Tsp-1Tbsp of creamy peanut butter (to taste) last add very hot coffee or espresso, blend well until smooth. Pour into 1 large mug or 2 small mugs to share. Add steamed/frothed milk or hot cream to taste. Sprinkle with cocoa powder. (To make this drink cold just add PB to coffee and let cool before adding to blender, then use cold milk or cream.)

The perfect Book to pair with this bold and snacky drink, is something short and sweet/savory! 

My pick: “The Phantom Tollbooth” By Norton Juster 
Illustrated by Jules Feiffer

A book that speaks universally to both children and adults. A story that like the old PB&J is a classic, full of both warmth and goodness.

Go on an adventure with Milo, as he discovers The Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping) and rescues Rhyme and Reason. You will discover like Milo does, that life is far from dull, but more interesting and exciting than you’ve ever imagined.
Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

A wee sample to wet your appetite:

You know you're in good hands when, in the midst of some 
nutty, didactic dialogue, the author disarms you.

"I guess I just wasn't thinking," said Milo.
"PRECISELY," shouted the dog as his alarm went off 
again. "Now you know what you mus do."
"I'm afraid I don't," admitted Milo, feeling quite stupid.
"Well," continued the watchdog impatiently, "since you 
got here by not thinking, it seems reasonable to expect that 
in order to get out, you must start thinking." And with that he 
hopped into the car.

Timeless Summer-Time Tales

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Well it’s August… already, summer is hot beautiful and on it’s last leg. I put together a list of classic literature, all are perfect picks for summer days. I know which one I’m going to start on next!
What will you chose?

No one can capture a warm summer afternoon like Steinbeck

East of Eden
by John Steinbeck
A work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love’s absence. Adapted for the 1955 film directed by Elia Kazan introducing James Dean. East of Eden has remained vitally present in American culture for over half a century.
This book is a perfect read for a long summer camp-out
Rated 4.7 amazon.com

The Merchant of Venice
by William Shakespeare

After his ships and money are lost at sea, Antonio, a prominent Venetian merchant, cannot repay a loan to Shylock, the Jewish moneylender. Antonio must rely on an unexpected source, Shakespeare’s first great heroine, to save his skin, quite literally, in this tale of love, law, mercy, and revenge. Shylock, originally conceived as a bloodthirsty villain, has been later understood to be a far more sympathetic character, who challenges cultural stereotypes while reminding audiences to look beyond the barrier of ethnocentricity.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain
A much loved and classic work of American literature. It is the story of Tom, a rambunctious young lad who lives with his Aunt Polly. Tom is a boy who doesn’t much like going to school and throughout the book does everything he can to get out of it. Near the beginning of the novel Tom exhibits his keen wit by convincing some boys to paint his Aunt Polly’s fence that he has been punished with having to do for skipping school.
Rated 4.3 on amazon.com
AND…
Huckleberry Finn

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“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is considered by many to be the greatest of all American novels. This sequel to Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” is a first person narrative told by its title character. The novel picks up where “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” leaves off. Huck Finn who is now wealthy with the discovery of treasure at the end of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” finds himself in great danger from his abusive drunkard father who wishes to cash in on Huck’s fortune.
Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

hibiscus

Book Bean: Heavenly Huckleberry Hibiscus
In a saucepan bring 4-5 cups of water to a boil. Add 1/2 cup of dried hibiscus flowers, turn off the heat and steep for for 30 minutes. Strain, add sweetener of choice (I prefer agave) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve: Fill glasses with ice. Fill half of the glass with iced tea. Add Huckleberries. Top with lemonade. Serve chilled.

chocolatChocolat: A Novel
by Joanne Harris
New York Times bestselling novel Chocolat entranced readers with its mix of hedonism, whimsy, and, of course, chocolate. In tiny Lansquenet, where nothing much has changed in a hundred years, beautiful newcomer Vianne Rocher and her exquisite chocolate shop arrive and instantly begin to play havoc. Each box of luscious bonbons comes with a free gift: Her uncanny perception of its buyer’s private discontents and a clever, caring cure for them.
Rated 4.3 on amazon.com
or go for the whole trilogy:
The Girl With No Shadow
and
Peaches for Monsieur le Curé

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The Great Gatsby
by Fitzgerald
First published in 1925, this quintessential novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the mysteriously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.
Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

5166-iXOB-LThe Secret Life of Bees

by Sue Monk Kidd
Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sister, Lily is introduced to their
mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. Set in South Carolina in 1964, This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

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Book Bean: Bee’s Knees Tea
A Prohibition Era cocktail made with Gin, fresh lemon juice, andhoney. It is served shaken and chilled, often with a lemon twist. Replace Gin with Green tea (or just add) and you have a nice refreshing drink for a warm evening.

alchemist

The Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho

A fable about un-dauntingly following one’s dream, listening to one’s heart, and reading life’s omens features dialogue between a boy and an unnamed being. inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its simplicity and wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of treasure buried in the Pyramids.Rated 4.9 on amazon.com

Atonement: A Novel
by Ian McEwan
atonementA symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative and the provocation we have come to expect from this master of English prose. In each of his novels McEwan has brilliantly drawn his reader into the intimate lives and situations of his characters. But never before has he worked with so large a canvas: In Atonement he takes the reader from a manor house in England in 1935 to the retreat from Dunkirk in 1941; from the London’s World War II military hospitals to a reunion of the Tallis clan in 1999.
Rated 3.9 on amazon.com

Mosquitoland
by David Arnold

I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange.
Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, Mosquitoland is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

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Love in the Time of Cholera
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs–yet he reserves his heart for Fermina.

Rated 4.0 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Iced Horchata Latte
ice-2571490_960_720.jpgHeat water, sugar, and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until sugar is dissolved, whisking occasionally, about 5 minutes. Allow mixture to cool for 10 minutes. Pour ice into a large pitcher and fill with ice, pour in 4-6 0z of brewed coffee or 2-4 espresso shots, add in rice milk. Stir sugar water into rice milk.

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To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
A Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep South—and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred
One of the best-loved stories of all time, it has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

What are your summer time classic recommendations?